by Ellen Hopkins

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I picked up this book at the Book Barn, a huge used-book outdoor store, and didn’t really bother to look inside before buying it.  I walked out with a stack of about 7 books, and this one was somewhere in the middle– the back looked pretty good, but it definitely wasn’t on the top of my TBR list.

Then, I started reading it.  At first, I was shocked because it was written in verse, something which I had never experienced in a book before, and it was weird.  Admittedly, I was really reluctant to try a book written like this.  But once I did, I absolutely LOVED it.  The book was so good right from the beginning, and once you figured out how to read the poetry like a story, it just kept getting better.  It was a new experience for me, and one I’m 100% glad I had.  Next time I go to the bookstore, you can guarantee that I’ll be looking for Glass, the second book in the series.  What I love is that even though it’s a series, it can be read as a solitary book and still make perfect sense, with a final conclusion that doesn’t leave you annoyed at the reader for making you buy another to find out what happens.

The essential plot of Crank is that there is a high school girl named Kristina, and she is, for lack of a better word, perfect.  She gets good grades, has a great friend, and is otherwise very happy with her life.  And then she visits her father– and his life is not so pretty.  While there, she is introduced to the “monster” (crystal meth/crank) and she becomes hooked.  While high on Crank, Kristina becomes Bree, and she is capable of anything.  This story is based on Ellen Hopkins’ own daughter, and because of that it rings remarkably true, through both the ups and the downs.

Hopkins doesn’t bother to sugar coat anything.  When life sucks, she makes she that she makes that very clear.  But, what I think makes this stand out from other books about drug addicts, is that when life is great for Kristina/Bree, she makes sure that those emotions come across equally strongly.  This book is a poignant example of both the horrors, and the wonders, of being addicted to hard drugs.  If you are anything like me, you will find yourself begging Kristina to do the right thing, and sobbing at her struggles.  This book was an emotional rollercoaster.  This was actually me while reading.

Although it may look really intimidating when you pick it up, as it is a thick book, the fact that it is written in verse makes it go really quickly, and so you don’t have to worry about too long of a commitment.  If you’re dedicated, it can take 1-2 afternoons to get through the whole thing.  Plus, you won’t want it to end, so it’s not really an issue!

When I got about halfway through, I realized that if you read the poetry down the line, instead of across, you get a different meaning, representing Kristina versus Bree.  I think this is also a really cool feature that Hopkins included, and so make sure you look for it.  It gave me a whole new perspective for the book when I started reading it both ways.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotional, exciting, teen semi-fiction novel.  It was so beautifully written, and I guarantee that you will not be short on emotions during your time reading it.

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